By: Terry Harris | Twitter: @SSDispatch
Posted: May 22, 2020 | 12:45 p.m.
SURRY – Recognizing the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sPower recently announced a $500,000 commitment to support emerging COVID-19 needs in local communities across the country where it develops and operates. In keeping with their commitment, these funds have already begun to make a difference in Surry County, as sPower Community Relations Director Cat Mosley explained on Sunday.
“We are solar developers and have Cavalier Solar project that straddles Surry County and Isle of Wight County,” Mosely said. “Unlike some other developers, we don’t just develop and construct projects, but we own and operate them through the 25 to 30 year life of the project. So it is very important to us to be good neighbors, and that is why we just really have taken the time and given a hyperlocal approach to reaching out to community leaders, chambers of commerce, and local businesses to see how we can help in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Our approach has been unique,” she added, “in that we’ve taken the time to have conversations to find out where the greatest needs are. What we’ve found to be consistent is that all communities we’ve reached out to have been impacted in some way and are left trying to assess future needs.”
Several area businesses and organizations spoke out with gratitude for the help sPower has already afforded local citizens.
Joyce Washington of First Baptist Church in Spring Grove said that thanks to sPower’s help, “We would like to thank you so much for your generous donation and say God bless you for your support during this Coronavirus pandemic. The front-line workers are very thankful and grateful for everything that is being done to help them, as they help those who are in need at this time.”
Mosely said that the church group recently told her that they have made over 1,000 masks so far, and are so thankful for all that they have been able to do thanks to sPower’s donation. The masks have supported the frontline workers at nursing homes in Waverly, Williamsburg, and Petersburg; group homes in the Petersburg, Hopewell, and Prince George area; as well as the communities of Surry, Petersburg, Smithfield, and Williamsburg plus sending some masks to workers in need as far away as Columbus, Ohio.
“This truly was their wonderful effort that we were so happy to support with $2,000,” Mosely added.
When asked about sPower’s generosity in the effort to see that no one went hungry in the area during this crisis, Valerie Pierce, Director of Surry County Department of Social Services, said, “They have been very generous in helping us meet the needs, particularly of the senior population, especially in regards to the COVID situation. Their generous support insured that they received adequate food, and we’re very grateful. We just really appreciate their collaborative effort.”
Chris Johnson, Chair of Crater Regional Workforce Development Board said, “In March, the Governor of Virginia authorized Rapid Response funding to workforce boards across the Commonwealth for employers eligible to remain open during this COVID-19 emergency. Our region’s funds were limited. We are grateful to sPower for their contribution to our region’s workforce development during this time.”
Sophenia H. Pierce, Executive Director of Crater Regional Workforce Development Board elaborated, “The donation provided by sPower will help the Crater Regional Workforce Development Board to assist more small businesses within the nine localities that we serve. Funds will be used to support employers in some of the most in-demand industry sectors to include healthcare, social assistance, accommodations, food service and retail. We will be able to assist additional businesses by helping them to leverage their resources to purchase COVID-19-specific cleaning/sanitation supplies, janitorial services, technology supplies and other items to help employees to maintain their jobs in a healthy and safe environment. I am excited to have this company as a new partner in the Crater Region and look forward to working together in the near future.”
sPower’s contribution of nearly $10,000 to help feed seniors through a cooperative effort with The Virginia Diner prompted Diner President and COO Andrew Whisler to say, “With the current Covid situation having such an impact on so many communities, sPower has gone above and beyond in partnering with local businesses to take care of the community.”
Whisler said that, after an initial purchase of 100 meals a week for 8 weeks that were prepared at the Virginia Diner and distributed by Surry Social Services to local elderly and others in need, they “just full on donated – did not ask us to do a match and also helped out the county with other community partners as well.”
sPower also contributed to Rushmere Community development, to assist Brother’s Keeper homeless services, and purchased treats from Just for Kicks Cupcakes for First Responders. In addition, they reached out to chambers of commerce to purchase gift cards through various small businesses in Surry and Isle of Wight Counties because, “We know this is a challenging time,” Mosely said.
Asked about all of the people and groups and businesses she has worked with, all the time she has spent arranging help for people in Surry County, she simply said, “We want to be in these communities for a long time, so it’s very important that we get to know people and that we are a good neighbor.”
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